Soccer was in the papers, on the TV, and spoken about all over the radio last week. It did not give the game a good name, but I hope that you were able to forget about the way the sport has been disrespected and that you were able to enjoy a game or two this weekend. Here is the MLS Wrap-Up for Week 13!
Sporting Kansas City 4 – FC Dallas 0
These two teams came into Friday’s nights match up separated by three points. Sporting KC has been faced with numerous absences to their starting eleven, but has managed to maintain a five-game unbeaten streak through that time. FC Dallas saw their five match unbeaten streak snapped last weekend after a 2-1 defeat at Montreal.
Kansas City welcomed Graham Zusi and Roger Espinoza back to the starting lineup for their 60th consecutive sell out at Sporting Park. FC Dallas was missing the incredible talent of Fabian Castillo who was a key factor in their 3-1 win over Sporting last March.
Krisztian Nemeth replaced the injured Dom Dwyer as the center striker for Kansas City. Nemeth gave the home team the lead after 19 minutes and the boys in blue never looked back. Kevin Ellis headed Graham Zusi’s free kick back across the FC Dallas goal line and Nemeth was there to touch it in freely.
Nemeth did more than score for Kansas City on his center forward debut. The Hungarian international was able to draw two yellow cards on Zach Lloyd that would leave Dallas to fight with only 10 men.
Goal scorer-turned foul drawer, Krisztian Nemeth, laid off a beautiful ball for Benny Feilhaber to score in the 51st minute. Nemeth received a ball in the goal area by Jalil Anibaba and turned Matt Hedges like a top. Feilhaber stroked the ball past Dan Kennedy for an easy 2-0 lead.
Kevin Ellis continued his claim for a Man of the Match honor. While keeping a clean sheet for KC, the center defender also scored from a Graham Zusi corner kick.
The scoreline would close in the 63rd minute. Jalil Anibaba played a perfectly weighted pass over the backline to rookie Connor Hallisey. Hallisey dribbled across goal with his left drawing Hedges away from the near post. Graham Zusi’s overlapping run was rewarded with a sweet back heel to free the veteran to score on a low drive. The assist was Hallisey’s final touch in his first career MLS start after being substituted a minute later. Sporting would take the 4-0 in stride at home and look to continue their fine form against Western Conference leading Seattle this weekend.
Dallas does not have a proven history of successfully replacing their dynamic players with depth from the bench. Struggles for the Hoops could continue if Castillo is not able to return for the trip San Jose.
Tim Melia continued to impress for Sporting in goal. The long-time MLS pool goalkeeper has made brave decisions and has cleared the danger in every moment since receiving the number one job.
Next week: Kansas City hosts Seattle & FC Dallas visits San Jose
Toronto FC 3 – San Jose 1
Poor weather put off the kick-off for 15 minutes in Toronto, but it wouldn’t have a lasting affect in Saturday’s match. Chris Wondolowski was fresh off his 100th career MLS goal last weekend. Sebastian Giovinco has been the man for Toronto and has carried the team on his shoulders the past few weeks.
Justin Morrow enjoyed his goal in the 22nd minute. The right back scored a diving header after making a late run in the goal area. Giovinco took the ball to the goal line and lifted the ball towards the penalty spot. Morrow came bursting through to connect on the ball and put it into the net.
Just over a minute later, San Jose was able to respond from the penalty spot of Toronto. Wondolowski’s header was wildly handled by Ashton Morgan. Wondolowski took the spot kick and coverted it for his 101 MLS goal and his second penalty in two games.
Toronto kept pluging away at San Jose and was again able to find a go ahead goal. Sanna Nyassi was seemingly taken down by Giovinco while playing the ball out of the back, but the referee did not blow the whistle. Luke Moore collected the loose ball to feed a hungry Warren Creavalle for a luscious strike that beat David Bingham.
The Earthquakes fiercely searched for an equalizing goal at the start of the second half. The field also began to churn up from the rain and players began loosing their footing more often.
Giovinco continued to show his class and professional aptitude in the 71st minute to seal the deal for Toronto FC. Michael Bradley found the Italian making a deep run into the goal area. Giovinco’s elegant first touch let him open his body towards goal and find the oncoming Moore for the goal scoring touch to the back post.
San Jose is looking to find a winning consistency in June. The Earthquakes have not mounted back-to-back wins since the third week of the season.
Toronto is flying high at their newly-renovated BMO Field and will continue to rise in the standings after being on the road for so long this season. Toronto has a nine-point deficit and three games in hand on Eastern Conference leading DC United. A win against DC can bridge that points gap in the Supporter’s Shield race.
Next week: Toronto FC visit DC United & San Jose host FC Dallas
Orlando City 2 – Columbus Crew SC 2
Columbus enjoyed their first match this season against Orlando. A 3-0 win at home against the Lions thanks to an early red card to Rafael Ramos. This weekend it would be Columbus that would fall to an early red card against Orlando.
Things were going well for the Crew early. Tony Tchani rose against the young Ramos to head in the opening goal inside the opening 6 minutes. Tchani got his header down and past Tally Hall thanks to a nice bounce off the rubber turf.
A monumental decision by the referee affected the remainder of the 75 minutes at the Citrus Bowl. A Luke Boden corner kick created a moment of madness as Steve Clark missed a punch out of his goal area, the ball fell to a stretching shot on goal by Kaka. Michael Parkhurst made his way to the goal line to clear the ball and used his body to block the shot. The referee insisted that Parkhurst used his hand to deny the goal scoring opportunity. Kaka took the penalty and scored. Parkhurst was sent off for the handling the ball on the line.
Kei Kamara continued his fine form this season after heading in a 61st minute Waylon Francis cross. Kamara put his header down and beat Hall at his near post after the ball bounce off the turf. The Sierra Leone striker has his league-leading 10th goal and is in the scoring form of his life.
Orlando was not able to benefit from a man advantage at home. Pedro Ribeiro returned to the field in the 72nd minute for Cyle Larin. The young Brazilian has missed the past seven games due to a hamstring injury that occurred in early April.
Riberio collected a loose ball towards midfield and took a few touches towards the Crew’s goal. The Brazilian took a chance at net and was able to find the lower corner with a sizzling drive past Clark.
After going winless at home in their first four matches Orlando has now picked up its 3rd match unbeaten.
Parkhurst, the Crew, and myself may not have agreed with the referee’s decision to send off the veteran center back, but that is the reality of the game we play.
Next week: Orlando visits Chicago & Columbus visits Philadelphia
Other scores in MLS Week 13:
Seattle 1 – Colorado 0
LA Galaxy 1 – Real Salt Lake 0
Portland 1 – DC United 0
New York City FC 1 – Houston 1
Vancouver 2 – Real Salt Lake 1
DC United 2 – Philadelphia 1
Chicago 3 – Montreal 0
Colorado 1 – Portland 2
Seattle 2 – NY Red Bulls 1
New England 2 – LA Galaxy 2
Who do you think finished this best? Hands down, it was run and gun in MLS this week. Gershon Koffie’s blast for Vancouver wins for me. What a rocket! And the movement on the ball just before it reached goal teased Nick Rimando into thinking he would save it.